Austin Lucas releases Alive in the Hot Zone! on 30 October via Cornelius Chapel Records. The release will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital streaming outlets. The album was written and recorded as the COVID-19 pandemic and a groundswell of new social change began to emerge via Black Lives Matter and other movements. Perhaps inspired by seeing these ideas find purchase in the political strata, Lucas, who cut his teeth in the punk rock scene, pegs this new effort as a change in direction in his solo career. The ten tracks on Alive in the Hot Zone! provide direct and distinct commentary on the current global climate.
Though penned in a time in which the future appears uncertain and dark political undercurrents are on the rise, he remains hopeful that a shift toward a more positive future, which includes equality and a beating back of fascism on American soil. That is evident in “Already Dead”, which is accompanied by a new video. Lucas refers to the track as a “confluence of the Strokes, John Mellencamp and Against Me!” coupled with “heartland rock and indie punk”. “In these times, there can be nothing more important than remembering to be our true and most authentically beautiful selves.”
He says, “Our world is at the edge of a great changing of paradigms, and it comes to each of us to choose where we will stand. I’ve chosen an inclusive world of beauty and acceptance, the kind of place where we can all dance to our own beat, without fear of the echoing boot heels of authoritarian, fascist bullies. They may seek to terrorize us into submission, but they can’t stop joy, they can’t stop love. The right ain’t got no rhythm, and it falls to us to dance these bastards out of power.”
For the accompanying video, Lucas collaborated with longtime friend J. Sek. “We hashed out ideas together while I was still in the recording studio, so I knew something amazing was coming, just like it always does with him. What he came back to me with, though, was absolutely astounding. It’s legitimately the first time that I’ve ever gotten goosebumps watching one of my videos.”
As he has does so often in his career, Lucas demonstrates his lyrical acumen in the track, capturing our dark
zeitgeist with unflinching accuracy, marrying it with an anthemic feel that is inspiring despite the harrowing realities it chronicles. It’s a reminder that although unity is essential, there is still a distinct line between right and wrong, and Lucas knows which side of the line is the right one to stand on as we move toward a more equitable future.